A guest post by Justin Anthony
Justin is an artist based in Vancouver originally from Alberta. His favourite roles in theatre to date are Eugene Morris Jerome in Brighton Beach Memoirs and the title character of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. Film and television work includes Star Trek Beyond, Untold Stories of the ER, as well as many stints competing in internationally recognized submissions to Film Racing. Justin’s proudest endeavour is as co-writer, co-producer and actor in the Leo Award nominated sci-fi action concept Soldiers of Earth.
I am going to be specific: what I want is for you to understand what the ACAI was like in 2016; my obstacle is that I must keep your attention through text thus my chosen tactics will be to allure/entice/charm you, so …
Hey baby, how you doin’?
It was time for me to go back to my roots and be a student of theatre again when I auditioned for ACAI. I prepared myself for the big scary interview with the big scary audition panel and refused to leave the room without having followed my impulses for my audition monologue … it worked in my favour and I was invited in.
What I found when we started was a room of diverse artists with different origin stories, complementary goals and most importantly creative drives. That’s what you’ll find should you be invited to next year’s party, too. Consider: assembling a small ensemble plucked from a batch of approved applicants after completing an interview/monologue meeting to the satisfaction of the powers-that-be really means everyone chosen is ready, eager, talented and determined. With great hair. ACAI was a great place to push, be pushed and be inspired.
But acting is not all about … acting. It’s also about its instruments. The intensive provides the opportunity to examine movement; intentions, tensions, energies – bringing conscious physical choices to demand a character develop from their own circumstances of authenticity. Then there’s voice; vowels, resonance, truth – the weapon overlooked by most of us actors that carries universal veracities to our audiences. Mix in a little improv with some belly dancing and you’ve got yourself a hootenanny! Or at the very least an acting program.
Advice for future participants: the intensive flies by quick so record, mine and absorb everything. Theatre people like metaphors and similies, right? Alright, so, being in the ACAI is like hatching in a nest; you stay in the nest for only a short while, try to fly, fall, get back up, eat worms then try again. But once you catch flight, even if for just a second, that’s the sign your time in the nest is coming to a close. Yet your ability too fly is now a part of you so in order to get to the next destination of bird-dom you must trust it carry you.
But what did I learn? Rather, what did I finally let myself have? (Let’s be honest, we are all aware what is in our own way as an artist.) I learned and now have acceptance, acceptance of what I have to offer; elements of myself that have served me that I attempted to squander for, funnily enough, acceptance. I was challenged in a way that disrupted the process I had come to rely on for so long only to discover this acceptance by being challenged again in the eleventh hour before our showcase. If I could verb the experience it would be “stretched.” And I am better for it; our whole class is.
I hope I achieved my objective in this wrap-up, I was specific and had tactics … but this write-up is still going so perhaps I didn’t. You see, the objective has to be either won or lost and whichever happens first signifies the end of the scene and this post isn’t over yet so then that means —